Blaine hires firm for final design of open space project

Blaine is proceeding to the final design stage for a five-year project to improve the 500-acre Blaine Wetland Sanctuary.

The Blaine City Council Dec. 9 approved a contract with Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. to complete the final design the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary project that will include a nature center and trails. File photo by Eric Hagen
The Blaine City Council Dec. 9 approved a contract with Stantec Consulting Services, Inc. to complete the final design the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary project that will include a nature center and trails.
File photo by Eric Hagen

Blaine City Council Dec. 9 approved a $365,980 contract with Stantec Consulting Services, Inc., the same company the city worked with on the recently completed preliminary design that cost a little over $20,000. Including a 10 percent contingency, the amount approved by council was $402,578.

The final vote was 5-0. Council Members Mike Bourke and Wes Hovland were absent.

This project, located next to The Lakes housing development, could bring a nature center and trails to this area to create educational opportunities and community outreach, similar to what happens at Springbrook Nature Center in Fridley.

Also included will be the clearing of invasive plant species and a pond of a little over 9 acres near 109th Avenue, the southern area of open space once referred to only as Site 7. The nature center would be near the eastern boundary of Lexington Avenue, just across the street from the Lexington Athletic Complex.

Stantec’s was one of three proposals the city received for this final design. Although the $365,980 bid from Stantec was higher than the $344,627 offered by EOR and $348,600 proposed by SEH, Inc., Stantec had the lowest cost per hour.

Its bid was highest because it estimated the most project hours. Stantec projected its staff would spend a cumulative 3,147 hours on this final design while SEH projected 2,656 hours and EOR guessed 2,355 hours.

“Stantec had the proposal that best understood what we were looking for,” said Jim Hafner, the city’s stormwater manager who also oversees the city’s open space. “They were the most complete in their proposal.”

Hafner said EOR estimated the fewest staff hours but did not include final design for a nature center in its bid. EOR recommended the city directly work with another architect on the nature center design. While the other two bids did not estimate a design cost for the nature center, Stantec and SEH included this in its hours projections and final costs.

Hafner said SEH was “light on details.”

“Their proposal was more vague on how some tasks would be addressed or what level of work would be devoted to some tasks,” he said.

As the final design progresses, Stantec will host a public meeting to seek input, Hafner said. Once the design is complete, Stantec will complete bid and construction documents and oversee construction. This contract stretches out to 2020.

The city can use park dedication fees to cover these open space improvement projects. While 80 percent of residential park development fees is dedicated to city park projects, 20 percent goes into the city’s open space fund.

This project will be happening at the same time as a wetland restoration project being done by Critical Connections Ecological Services, Inc. The council approved $687,688 for this contract March 20. Hafner said this is a wetland banking project that has the potential of generating credits valued between $1.8 million and $4.4 million. This revenue can be used for maintaining the city’s open space.

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